Thursday, November 26, 2015


By Tom Gumbrecht

Originally published in Horse Directory, Nov-Dec 2015

On Thanksgiving, we pause to give thanks for the things in our lives that we are grateful for. As time goes on, I find myself asking the question, “Am I grateful for the things that I've been given, or have many things been given to me because I'm grateful?” As the years pass, I've begun to think it's more the latter.

Recently, I read a line by Melodie Beattie that sums up what I've come to believe: “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend.”

Thankful for a wonderful trainer, friends and family.

Thankful for my tirelessly supportive
wife Mary, and my sweet OTTB
mare, Lola.
Conversely, I believe, a life without gratitude can turn an idyllic setting into a barren wasteland. Join me at the horse show: Without gratitude, everyone who parks their trailer except me is an idiot. Without gratitude, my trainer is always preoccupied with others and I don't get the attention I deserve. Without gratitude, other trainers in the warmup ring are all inconsiderate jerks. Without gratitude, the judge is either blind or politically influenced and I had no chance of winning even before I came into the ring. Without gratitude, everyone who places above us does so only because someone bought them a more expensive horse. Without gratitude, every choice I've made to get to where I am seems like the wrong one, everyone who rides or trains differently is misguided, the show secretary is too slow, the classes start too early or run too late and the coffee from the catering truck sucks.

Without gratitude, it all sucks.

When I'm grateful, my twelve year old truck and trailer is just fine. When I'm grateful, I am amazed that I have a horse that can do what mine does, and does so willingly. When I'm grateful, my trainer is the very best trainer and she just always seems to get me and my horse.  When I'm grateful, there's nothing better than a cup of hot coffee while going over our courses while waiting for our division, I'm ecstatic with the $100 we won in jumpers when the day cost us $400+, and I can't believe that a formerly sedentary sideline
observer of sports such as I, found his niche in equestrian competition.
Thankful to be able to share my
passion with baby Daniel.

I know one thing, above all else, to be true: There is no happiness without gratitude. I've learned a lot since becoming a member of the horse community, and the most important thing I've learned is to say thank you. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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